Cirstea upsets Rybakina to reach US Open round of 16 for first time in 17th attempt

The Romanian will play Swiss Belinda Bencic, the No 15 seed, for a place in the quarter-finals

Sorana Cirstea at the 2023 Miami Open Sorana Cirstea at the 2023 Miami Open
US Open •Third round • completed
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Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, the No 30 seed, pulled off the biggest upset of the women’s draw so far at the 2023 US Open with a three-set win over Kazakh Elena Rybakina, the No 4 seed, in New York on Friday night.

The 33-year-old needed two hours and 48 minutes to beat the former Wimbledon champion Rybakina 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 to move into the fourth round of the US Open for the first time in her career.

Rybakina fought back from 4-1 down in the final set and looked set to stretch the decider but the Romanian played some of her best tennis towards the end of the set and was helped by a double fault from the Kazakh on match point.

Cirstea, now working with 2022 Australian Open men’s champion Thomas Johansson, is playing at the US Open for the 17th time in her career – 15 main draw appearances and two qualifying attempts. She had previously reached the third round in New York on three occasions.

Cirstea, ranked No 30, will face Swiss Belinda Bencic, the No 15 seed, next.

Ahead of her win on Friday, the 33-year-old Romanian beat American wildcard Kayla Day (6-2, 6-3) and Russian Anna Kalinskaya (6-3, 6-4).

Rybakina, ranked No 4, won against Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk (6-2, 6-1) and Australian Ajla Tomljanovic (W/O) earlier in the tournament.

New York (Grand Slam), other third-round matches (USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, hard, USD 44,700,000, most recent results first):

  • Belinda Bencic beat Lin Zhu: 7-6 (1), 2-6, 6-3
  • Coco Gauff (6) beat Elise Mertens (32): 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
  • Caroline Wozniacki (WC) beat Jennifer Brady: 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
  • Jelena Ostapenko (20) beat Bernarda Pera: 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
  • Iga Swiatek (1) beat Kaja Juvan (Q): 6-0, 6-1
  • Xinyu Wang beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova: 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
  • Karolina Muchova (10) beat Taylor Townsend: 7-6, 6-3
  • Ekaterina Alexandrova vs. Marketa Vondrousova
  • Ons Jabeur vs. Marie Bouzkova
  • Katie Boulter vs. Peyton Stearns
  • Qinwen Zheng vs. Lucia Bronzetti
  • Elina Svitolina vs. Jessica Pegula
  • Liudmila Samsonova vs. Madison Keys
  • Clara Burel vs. Aryna Sabalenka
  • Daria Kasatkina vs. Greet Minnen

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